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Trust in the Internet as an experience technology

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Trust in the Internet and related information and communication technologies – ‘cybertrust' – could be critical to the successful development of ‘e-services', such as e-government, e-commerce, e-learning and democratic participation in the rapidly expanding online public sphere. This paper explores trust in cyberspace based on an analysis of data from an Oxford Internet Survey conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute using a multi-stage, national probability sample in Great Britain. The paper highlights various perspectives on the meaning of trust and draws on findings from the Oxford Internet Survey to explore and refine key social determinants of cybertrust. Evidence from this research provides fresh insights into the factors shaping trust in the Internet, arguing that cybertrust, defined as a confident expectation, is influenced by experience, defined operationally by several indicators of proximity to the Internet, in ways shaped by educational background. The potential for using these results to better understand the role of trust on Internet use is addressed, as well as the more indirect implications for reinforcing digital divides.
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Keywords: Internet; Trust; cybertrust; experience technology; information and communication technologies; social impact

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles', Oxford, OX1 3JS, UK, +44 (0)1865 287210 2: Home Office, Direct Communications Unit, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF, UK, +44 (0)20 7035 4848

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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